Part 3: The Environmental Benefits of Metal Roofing
Metal Roofs for a Smaller Carbon Footprint
With easy access to the Internet, even little kids know what is and what isn’t good for Mother Earth. If made to choose between two things, the average Joe now usually selects the environment-friendly option. Homeowners are likewise turning towards construction alternatives that leave as little impact as possible on the environment and, in some ways, helps the environment as well.
Metal roofing is one of these surprisingly eco-conscious options. In addition to being able to withstand what the elements bring, there are also a lot of other qualities and possibilities that actually help the homeowner reduce building costs and upkeep, plus the carbon footprint of the roof, too for passive and active environmental benefits.
First, most metal roofing can be recycled. What many people may not know is that it exceeds paper and glass in terms of quantities recycled. The process of recycling metal uses up almost a fourth of the energy that creating new metal roofing requires. Because metal is reused, the available recycled metal also reduces the quantity of new metal required to meet the world’s demands.
The simplest of metal roofs can also allow homeowners to save money on utility bills because these can lower air-conditioning bills in hotter climes and heating bills in colder areas. These benefits are due to the high performance of the material in solar reflectivity and emissivity.
Solar reflectivity means how much of the heat from the sun’s rays is reflected back into the air instead being absorbed into the insides of a building through the ceiling. Emissivity, on the other hand, refers to the ability of a material to release any heat it may have absorbed. With decent insulation, painted metal can reflect heat and emanate any absorbed heat very well.
A gray-water system added to a metal roof also allows you to extend the ecological advantages of your structure, as would a basic solar panel system (which is a tad more complex). Mildew, fungi, and algae don’t grow on metal easily, so you can save what would otherwise turn into groundwater and use the water you collect in rain barrels to water your plants, for example, while being assured of reduced contaminants.
A simple solar panel system on top of your metal roof can provide you with “free” energy that you can then use to heat water for your showers and taps. What this does is reduce utility bills and your dependence on standard electricity while possibly lowering the heat absorbed by the metal roof itself.
To reap these benefits to the maximum, an appropriately designed roofing base structure must be in place. You need to use the right materials, including good insulation and design the right structure, such as a high ceiling, for example.
Installation also has to be of a certain standard. For instance, it needs to be connected to the rest of the structure in the right manner, e.g. using clips that expand to compensate for elongation due to heat. Taken together, all of these with ensure you of lower maintenance expenses and a longer life span (of two to three decades) for your metal roof.